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This month’s cover design was produced by Matthew Willis who is a multi-media creator living in Sydney, Australia. As you know seeing his site, he is an up-and-coming creator produces experimental flash works with his peculiar programming based on typography and photography as well as this cover. He is about to move his base of activity to Canada. We spoke to him about the web scene in Australia, etc.

First of all, please tell us who you are.

Matthew Willis – 29 – Presently living in the lower blue mountains / Sydney / Australia.

Please tell us about your current activity.

Personally: I am working with Telemetry orchestra on a video for their new single swingers international.
Work – at the ABC as an online designer.で

What kind of work are you doing at your site mwg

Its not work at all… I am just creating little features. A few have some sort of conceptual thought involved.
Some are created using photography, some typography, others are digital captures of video I have shot. I guess it is best labelled as art “work”.

How (where) did you learn such interactive designs?

Absolutely no idea. I have never done a course in design, interactive design or even graphic design. My interest in animation an visual graphics started when I was quiet young and I have worked with some great art directors and creative conceptual thinkers so this would have had some influence on what I am creating although they were not realy involved in “interactive design” more tv and print based.

What are your ideas on interactive design and which personal principles do you follow in creating a design?

It all depends on the target market. The most important thing is to place yourself in the “shoes” of the user and think the way they do. Making sure they are able to find the information that they have come for. Simple navigation. At mwg I am trying to create features that have impact and pushing the boundaries using flash. I want the user to feel they have to watch the features a couple of times because they feel as though they may have missed something or just to try and work out how I created it. Different ways of animating and most importantly using sound. I believe sound is an essential part of my projects. oh yeah… humour always works… in any language…

When you made the cover graphic for Shift this month, what did you image?

I “imagined” you would ignore the submission. I honestly didn’t think the submission was good enough.
With that in mind I created it using recycled graphics and when Shift responded with “We think clean font would be better” I changed the font. I really think a good designer is someone who can take criticism constructively and act on it. Lately I have been pushing flash with frame rates. Trying to acheive 40-60 fps which is not possible with TV or Film. I wanted it to move, flicker and semi trance the user which was helped with sound supplied by Kazimuchi.

What are you most interested in now?

Finishing off the Telemetry orchestra video then going to canada to start a new position at Blast Radius. I am also very interested in making sites that are more interactive and visually stimulating. I would love to do film/tv titles and possibly more music film clips. I imagine that soon the web will be available to more people when digital broadcast comes into play throughout the world. Taking the web to the lounge room via tv/entertainment unit so I am focusing on creating sites/features that will take advantage of whats available now, knowing the future is only going to make it more exciting to create, animated and design.

We’d like to ask you about the web design in Sydney, Australia in general. What is (was) hot there?

I believe there are some great sites being created in Australia and the design is world class. I would like to see more Australian pushing the medium further.

What do (did) you think about you are (were) based in Sydney?

I’m a little confused with the question but I will give it a go anyway. I am about to leave these shores. There is a lot of scope here although there are only a few major players in the web industry. I love Sydney. I will miss Sydney but Blast radius is going to be an amazing opportunity to create very innovative flash sites. It is hard to find clients that are willing to create sites using flash in Sydney. The plug-in download function limits the clients vision.

Do you have any plans for the near future?

Sleeping… with leaving the mother land getting closer I am working some 13 hrs a day and not spending enough time with my love – who is a great inspiration for me. Moving to Canada and working with some of the best designers/developers. Skiing at whistler. I would also love to update mwg… I have a couple of things ready but not to what I would call a good enough standard to upload. I am also “hanging out” to buy a new mac and a digital camera so I can do some more features using captured video.

Matthew Willis

Text: Mayumi Kaneko

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